Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 17
President Ilham Aliyev received members of Qarabag football club Dec. 17, and hailed the team's performance in international tournaments.
The president said development of football was among key priorities of the government policy and there is a state program in this regard.
President Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan is known in the world as a sports country and international sports organizations appreciate its success.
"The Azerbaijani athletes constantly delight people and show high results at the Olympics," he said. "The country's youth has shown high results in the Summer Olympic Games in London and the Summer Olympic Games in China."
President Aliyev said the country conducts a consistent sports development policy.
"More than 50 Olympic centers have been recently built in the country," he said. "Over 40 of them are located in the districts. The existing sports facilities are reconstructed."
"The largest sports facility in the region - Olympic Stadium is being built in Baku," he said. "The Boyukshor lake is being cleaned in the stadium construction area. Significant actions are taken to maintain ecological balance."
Qarabag FC, going up against Italian Inter as part of the UEFA Europa League on Dec. 11, ended up with a draw, when the team's goal wasn't counted by a referee at the last minute. The outcome of the game stripped Qarabag from advancing to the next round.
President Ilham Aliyev, speaking on the issue, said the goal by Qarabag wasn't counted by the referee due to lack of professionalism or a biased position.
"You were worthy of great victories, and these victories have been taken away from you in front of the whole world," the president said, adding that it is difficult to tolerate injustice, and Azerbaijan faces this in a number of issues.
"Despite all difficulties, Azerbaijan is on the way of freedom and independence, and no power will force the country off this path," he said.
Stressing that the name of the club provides the team with additional responsibility, President Aliyev expressed confidence that this team will continue to delight people of Azerbaijan in the future."
The team's head coach Qurban Qurbanov thanked President Aliyev for supporting the club.
"The president's attention and care will be an important stimulus for the team's further activity," he said.
Vice-President of Qarabag football club Tahir Guzel said that despite the injustice by the referee, the team, gaining the sympathy of the fans after the last matches, did not lose courage.
Stressing that the last event has caused great concern among the European soccer community as well, Guzel thanked the president for his attention to the Qarabag football club and the development of sports in the country.
Guzel presented Qarabag club's memorable gifts to the president.
President Aliyev said that the team, which demonstrated a high culture by coping with the emotions after the injustice of referees in the last match, has gone down in the history.
"Sports is a social phenomenon in the world today," he said. "The first European Games will be held in Baku in 2015, while the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017. Azerbaijan will contribute to further strengthening of an intercivilizational dialogue."
President Aliyev said Baku is in the list of cities where the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship matches will be held. The president once again congratulated the team members and wished them success.
In conclusion a picture was taken.